Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Final Score, Highlights and Analysis
The Baltimore Ravens have defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-10 in one of the biggest games of the season.
This was a defensive battle, with the Ravens making enough big plays to prevail. Jacoby Jones punt return for a touchdown was the game's deciding play, but it was the Ravens' defense that sealed the win.
Byron Leftwich led all passers with 201 yards on 39 attempts, with one interception. Jonathan Dwyer led all rushers with 55 yards on 12 carries. Anquan Boldin racked up 79 yards on eight catches, while Emmanuel Sanders had three catches for 82 yards.
The Ravens now have a two game lead in the division and have set themselves up nicely for the rest of the season.
The question many will be asking is whether or not Ben Roethlisberger would have changed the result of this game.
The answer is not as simple as it seems.
The game would no doubt still be a low scoring affair. The Ravens defense played fantastic against the pass today, and the Ravens offense wasn't going anywhere tonight.
What might have changed were some of the sacks the Ravens picked up. Unquestionably, Byron Leftwich is easier to sack than Roethlisberger. Big Ben might have turned one of those sacks into a missed tackle and a big play, which could have turned the tide of the game.
Ultimately, though, we'll never know. The Ravens are just thrilled to beat the Steelers on the road and take a two game lead in the division.
Here are some of the best images from today's game.
Here are the Ravens' analysts quick reactions to the game.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley offers his take on the game here.
Final: That was probably the ugliest finale I've ever seen. Mike Wallace caught a short pass, passed it off to a lineman who passed it off to another lineman, resulting in a forced fumble by Paul Kruger and the recovery by Courtney Upshaw.
The better team won this game, in the sense that the Ravens made the fewest mistakes. Neither offense played well, but both defenses were solid. The Steelers shut down the Ravens completely, while the Ravens defense made more big plays.
Ultimately, Jacoby Jones' big return decided this game. The Ravens' special teams have been a strong point all season, and they've won another game for the Ravens.
:22 in Fourth Quarter: The Ravens are laying down the hammer to try and ice this game. They've unleashed two brutal hits to dislodge what would have been completed passes, and this is looking more and more like the Ravens' defense of old.
1:12 in Fourth Quarter: That this game will come down to the Steelers' offense is not surprising. The Ravens offense fails yet again to convert on third and short, and the Steelers have a little over a minute to win or tie the game. At least this game is going down to the last minute.
2:00 in Fourth Quarter: That offsides penalty on the Steelers is a killer. The Ravens are guaranteed to run off at least 40 more seconds now, and they have a chance to ice the game with a conversion on third and short.
The Ravens are notoriously poor on third and short, so it will be interesting to see how they respond here.
2:04 in Fourth Quarter: The Ravens continue to run the ball on that right side, but Kelechi Osemele and Marshal Yanda are getting no push. Every single Steelers' defender is blowing up the line of scrimmage on a regular basis, and they might just get the stop they need here.
4:00 in Fourth Quarter: The Ravens have a chance to end this game right now on this drive. Let's see how they respond.
4:35 in Fourth Quarter: James Ihedigbo absolutely destroyed Byron Leftwich on third down, producing the hit of the night so far. If that hit doesn't provide a spark for the Ravens, nothing will.
7:20 in Fourth Quarter: At least one running back is running with power and vision. It's Jonathan Dwyer, who has looked amazing in the second half. He is tonight's star performer, despite his pedestrian stats.
8:49 in Fourth Quarter: Yet another three and out for the Ravens as they continue to struggle on offense.
I can't blame the running game's lack of production completely on the offensive line. Ray Rice's lack of vision is hurting the offense. He had a chance to bounce a second-down run outside for a nice gain, but he slowed up and let himself be tackled. Rice is a great back, but his vision is definitely his weakest attribute, and it's showing in this game.
10:39 in Fourth Quarter: After missing out on a potential drive ending sack, the Ravens didn't make the same mistake twice. Every single Raven rusher was in the backfield there, and Haloti Ngata gets the sack. Give Dean Pees credit for a nice call to blitz aggressively there.
11:43 in Fourth Quarter: The Ravens should be disgusted with themselves that the Steelers can even challenge that call. Paul Kruger missed a potential sack, then Ed Reed missed a tackle that would have stopped Dwyer well short of the first down. Their tackling has been poor all day, and the Steelers are starting to take advantage.
14:55 in Fourth Quarter: The Steelers defense is feasting on the Ravens' offensive line in this game, and Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele have been the main targets. Osemele gave up a big sack there, as he simply lacks the physicality to handle the Steelers' edge rushers.
End of Third Quarter: Both offenses continue to struggle in this game, but the Steelers might be starting to realize how they can dominate on the ground. If they continue to run the ball effectively, expect a change in the lead by the end of the game.
:34 in Third Quarter: The Ravens hold the Steelers to a field goal on that drive, despite the Steelers' dominance on the ground. Mike Wallace had an opportunity to make a play, but he just wasn't able to get his feet down.
1:57 in Third Quarter: Ed Reed was rightfully hit with a helmet-to-helmet penalty, giving the Steelers a chance to turn this drive into a lead. Why players continue to lead with their helmet is beyond me, but that seems to be the only way Reed can tackle anymore.
4:32 in Third Quarter: Every single running play, I'm watching the Steelers' offensive line completely dominate. Haloti Ngata is getting pushed around, Ma'ake Kemoeatu is getting blown off the ball and no Ravens are shedding their blocks.
The Steelers can win this game on the ground alone. They need to take advantage of it.
6:49 in Third Quarter: Justin Tucker's field goal is good to give the Ravens' a 13-7 lead. They had a nice drive, but the Steelers are doing an excellent job of keeping everything in front of them. The Ravens are simply not getting open, especially as they advance closer to the end zone.
Also worth noting, it's nice to see Tucker nail a field goal after missing one earlier in the game. He's not perfect, but he's a tough kid.
9:27 in Third Quarter: Immediately after giving up a big pass play, Corey Graham made up for it with a brilliant interception. He read Byron Leftwich perfectly on the play and snagged the ball like a wide receiver as the Ravens defense once again bends, but doesn't break.
13:35 in Third Quarter: Cam Cameron continues to amaze me. The Ravens needed mere inches to pick up a first down, but instead of a quarterback sneak, the Ravens ran a long developing play to Ray Rice that was immediately stuffed. A poor playcall ended with a predictable result here as the Ravens are forced once again to punt.
Halftime: While we're waiting for the action to start back up, here's Jacoby Jones' touchdown return.
Halftime: There have been two standout units in this contest: the Steelers' defensive front-seven and the Ravens' secondary.
The Steelers have gotten constant pressure on Joe Flacco and have stuffed every single running play thus far. Their secondary has done a decent job as well, especially in shutting down Torrey Smith, but its the front-seven that has dominated so far.
For the Ravens, their secondary has been excellent. They forced a Mike Wallace fumble and have generally had good coverage. They've blown some zone coverages, but they've found success on the whole.
Both offenses are struggling, but the Ravens' conservative game plan is killing them. Flacco has completed numerous passes on third down, yet the Ravens have failed to convert nearly every time. With a little more aggression, this Ravens team could be well ahead.
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